Friday, 17 December 2010

Blackmore: Disney family

The Disney memorial inside St Edmund & St Mary Church, Ingatestone.
In the Priory Church of St Laurence, Blackmore, on the north wall is a memorial to Edgar Disney (1810 – 1881). It reads:

to the memory of
Edgar Disney
of The Hyde
Ingatestone Essex
and of
Jericho Blackmore Esquire
Born 22nd December 1810
Died 8th December 1881
He that believeth in the Son hath
everlasting life, he that believeth
not the Son shall not see life
St John chap iii, ver. xxxvi

Below is a brass plaque:

This tablet
is erected by the Rev W Callendar Vicar of Black
more in grateful recognition of
the kindly munificence of Edgar Disney Esq of the Hyde Ingate
stone to whose generosity (independently of various donations from Parishioners
and others) the successful restoration of the Church of
St Lawrence is mainly due 1878

In Blackmore’s church records we find that the churchyard was enlarged in 1885, through a gift of land by “Edgar John Disney of Jericho House … Lieutenant Colonel of the 3rd Battalion Essex Regiment” [Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies. DSA 1/15/3 f395]. E J Disney was also churchwarden in 1885.

I suspect that the father lived at the family home - The Hyde, Ingatestone - and the son at Jericho, and it was he who caused the memorial to be erected. We know that at the time The Hyde was full of antiquities assembled on grand tours mainly by a Thomas Brand Hollis, a single man who died in 1804 and left his entire estate to his friend the Rev. Dr. John Disney, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquities and a Doctor of Divinity. His son, Edgar’s father, also a John, continued to collect works in Italy and catalogued the entire collection in 1846. Most of the sculptures were given to the fledgling Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge in 1850, presumably to make house room, and to this day the core of the museum’s collection is referred to as the ‘Disney marbles’. After Edgar’s death in 1881 the remainder of the collection was sold at auction by Christies.

Readers may be interested to know that there is an identical memorial at Ingatestone (see photograph). Recorders of the Brentwood & District Decorative and Fine Arts Society (NADFAS) have just finished a five year project researching the entire fixtures and fittings of St Edmund and St Mary Church. In an item in ‘The Journal’ (September 2010) specific mention is made of the Edgar Disney memorial which “displays the heraldic ‘quarterings’ of 23 different families”. Two guided tours of the church were given recently by Graham Brereton, the leader of the recording group.

There is another, but different, memorial to the Disney family at Fryerning Church. The family are buried in a large vault to the north side of St Mary’s Church.

The Disney family originated from the village of Norton Disney in Lincolnshire. Walt, the cartoonist, must be a distant relation but to suggest direct linage is, to be frank, a Mickey Mouse story.

Thomas Brand Hollis and the Disneys of Ingatestone, written by Graham Brereton.

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